|The Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering|
Rafael Baker is an associate professor and former head of the geotechnical group at the faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. In 2003 he received the 1st G. Zeitlen price from the Israeli Association of Engineers and Architects, for his recent contributions to slope stability analysis.
The main professional contributions of Baker are concentrated in two subjects which branch-out into number of separate topics. The main subjects are:
A. Limiting Equilibrium Analysis
B. Stochastic Geotechnical Engineering
Following is a more detailed discussion of his contributions to these subjects.
A - Limiting Equilibrium Analysis
Limiting equilibrium methods constitute the main practical tool allowing geotechnical engineers to analyze and design various soil bodies. Baker's contributions to this subject are concentrated in the following directions:
A-1 Variational formulation of limiting equilibrium problems, which generalizes the classical formulations of Morgenstern-Price and Janbu, and provides a unified framework for all “Extreme value problems of geotechnical engineering” (Slope stability, Bearing capacity, Active and Passive pressure etc.)
A-2 Local approach to slope stability analysis which provides an extremely useful diagnostic and visualization tool (the safety map), for identification of sub-standard zones in a given slope.
A-3 Formulation of rational design procedure for reinforced soil retaining structures
A-4 Quantifying the effect of non-linear failure criteria on slope stability
B - Stochastic Geotechnical Engineering
All natural geological materials are by their very nature heterogeneous, and the extent of most site investigation programs is usually quite limited. Combination of these two features implies large uncertainty with respect to the actual spatial distributions of various soil properties, which in terns suggests a need for a stochastic approach to geotechnical engineering problems. Baker's contributed to two different aspects of this subject:
B-1 Stochastic characterization of the spatial distribution of soil properties as spatial random fields based on Information theory concepts.
B-2 Solutions of various stochastic boundary value problems in which the spatial property distributions are modeled as a spatial random field.
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